Banished to the Jungle
The Kantamari Shrine, overlooking the Kuru Ganga Valley, below Batatotalena, Sri Lanka. In the 1980s, when the Batatotalena cave temple once more became a pilgrimage site for Buddhists, it was decided to exorcise a female demon named Kantamari from the cave she was believed to have occupied for over seven hundred years. During the exorcism, it was agreed that in exchange for her eviction, she would be provided with a shrine in the jungle below the cave. The shrine attracts worshippers too, but seemed forlorn and deserted on my visit, with a palpable air of eeriness, its crumbling balustrade holding back the encroaching jungle. The shrine was shot as part of my piece Mysteries in the Jungle: the Batatotalena Cave Temple, for the February 2016 issue of Serendib, Sri Lankan Airlines’ inflight magazine.